WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warren man says he made 25 calls to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training (DLT) over the course of two days to fix a problem with his unemployment claim.
“I’m lying in bed at 3 in the morning wondering how I’m going to make the ends meet here to keep the roof over my head,” John DiCarlo recalled.
DiCarlo said he’s an event coordinator for a local restaurant, and like thousands of other Rhode Islanders, he’s been receiving unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic.
“I was fully unemployed because of COVID, ultimately brought back as part-time for a good portion of the summer into the fall, and then when we hit the pause again was back at full unemployment,” he explained.
That’s when DiCarlo received a message that he’d reached the end of his unemployment benefits. But he said when he tried to recertify his claim, he hit a roadblock.
“We’re unable to find a record of your Social Security number,” DiCarlo said, reading the message he received every time he tried to enter his Social Security number. “I tried both online and on the phone with the automated system and I keep getting the same thing.”
Unable to get through to anyone at the DLT and still searching for answers, DiCarlo reached out to 12 Responds.
In an email, DLT spokesperson Margaux Fontaine told 12 News that Social Security numbers are “not recognized when claimants are not in the payment file at the time that their certification request is submitted.”
Fontaine also said if you’ve worked outside the state within the last year and a half, the claim needs to be refiled in order to receive an extension.
If you find yourself in that situation, she advised refiling manually by calling the DLT at (401) 415-6772 or visiting the agency’s website.
DiCarlo said 2016 was the last year he worked outside of Rhode Island and it’s unclear what the problem was, but it’s since been resolved.
DLT Director Scott Jensen said last week their call center was flooded with calls about concerns over benefits being extended, and he expects the call volume to drop in the coming days. He urged Rhode Islanders to only call after running into a problem.